From the Team / 2 October 2019

Under the Hood: new GameBoy and Transitions loop packs!

BandLab launched two new loop packs this week: the GameBoy Power Pack and the Risers and Transitions packs! Here’s our audio engineer Zeek to give you the lowdown on the latest drops. Don’t forget to scroll to the end to fork his sample track!

Hello Zeek! What inspired you to create these packs?

For GameBoy, we were looking for sounds that seem straight out of video games. The sounds have to be limited in resolution, so I worked with a lot of sound sources – from simple sine waves to complex frequency modulation waveforms. The process reacquainted me with methods of FM synthesis

The process for Risers and Transitions was a lot more visceral. We were focused on creating sound effects that give a sense of momentum! Think of how you’d typically listen to music: there’s usually a lift, drop, push or pull a song from one section to the other. So I created more experimental sounds that help chain song sections together. Most of these sounds were created with synthesizers with a lot of effects and reverb. 

Another inspiration for Risers is Hans Zimmer’s iconic BRAAAM sound effect: thinking about how a dance floor full of bodies would respond to these effects.

When in doubt… use more BRAAAM. Okay, so what are some of the ways you’d suggest using the new loop packs?

GameBoy is all about an attitude. You just know an 8-bit sound when you hear it! It’s also versatile. The drums and melodies can be the leading character of a track, or support.

Risers and Transitions can be used to link two different song parts. Try adding more effects to it. Filters are particularly useful to shape and tone your song. Use delay and reverb to add more modulation. 

What was the most challenging thing about making the new loop packs?

The GameBoy sound is very specific, so nailing that was the challenge. But it was super fun coming up with melodies and musical lines.

Risers and Transitions is the complete opposite. The sounds aren’t musical in a conventional sense, but can be used as a component in music composition. It’s pure sound design, where you have to carefully consider what tools or VSTs to use. 

What are some words you’d use to describe the new packs?

GameBoy Power Pack: 8-bit melodies, Nintendo, Retro, Gaming
Risers and Transitions: Drops, Risers, Sound Effects, Impacts, Sweeps

Before we go, Zeek – what’s your favourite Gameboy game?
TETRIS. And Sonic The Hedgehog!

tetris GIF

Where can I find the loop packs?

GameBoy Power Pack is available on BandLab web, and in the Looper on mobile. Risers and Transitions is web-only.

Feel free to fork Zeek’s sample track too!

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